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Guy Dauncey, Editor
395 Conway Road, Victoria, BC
CANADA V9E 2B9
Tel (250) 881-1304
www.earthfuture.com

Executive director of The Solutions Project

 

Newsletter No. 126 - Serving the Vision of a Sustainable Vancouver Island - Apr 2003


ODE TO BAGHDAD

What can one say at a time of such awful sadness? I hang my head in shame at the things that are being done on our behalf, in our name.

We are told by the American Ambassador to Canada that we should be ashamed for not supporting them, since we are all "family". I am ashamed – but not for the reason he thinks. I shudder at the Mafiosi overtones of his word "family".

That the people of Baghdad should be bombed, killed and terrorized in such a way, for the US to win control over Iraq’s oil, is so wretched.

Yes, I know, the Bushes, Rumsfelds and Wolfowitzes say it is about stopping terrorism, removing weapons of mass destruction, installing democracy, regime change, anything – except securing the supply of oil.

This land, Iraq, sits in the cradle of civilization. It was here, in Mesopotamia, thanks to the richness of the soil from the flooding of two great rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, that agriculture began.

It was here, long before the civilizations of Egypt, Greece or Rome, that towns and cities began, that calendars were first used, that writing was invented. It was here that maths was invented, based on the numeral 60 – which is why we have 60 minutes in the hour, and 360 degrees in the circle. As commerce flourished, it was here that double-entry book-keeping was developed.

It was here that laws were first codified, under King Hammurabi of Babylon (1792 – 1750 BC), guaranteeing social justice and legal protection to the lower classes. It was here, under the Assyrian culture, that the calculations of latitude and longitude were developed, predecessors of the Global Positioning System which is being used to rain down missiles on Baghdad. It was here that early medical science and horticulture developed. Later, thanks to the mathematician Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khawarizmi (680 - 750AD), it was here that algebra was invented – the very word comes from the title of his book, "Kitab al-jabr". His name, al-Khawarizmi, became the word "algorithm", the foundation of all computer systems, which are being used to control those missiles.

 What relevance is this? Austria was the land of Mozart, but this didn’t stop it from producing Hitler.

Saddam Hussein is a thoroughly nasty, brutal, Stalinesque dictator, a psychopath who has no qualms about killing a million of his people. His regime was armed by US and British companies, and tacitly encouraged to develop chemical and biological weapons in its war with Iran.

The Americans know he had these weapons, because they sold them to him. Scott Ritter, however, who served as a UN arms inspector in Iraq for 8 years, says they have all been destroyed or buried, and that any biological or chemical weapons he may still have will have degraded, and lost their ability to harm.

And as for the supposed terrorist connections to Al Qaeda – none has been found. What is more worrying is that all over the Arab world, fundamentalist nutcases are turning Saddam Hussein into a hero of Islam, packing their bags to go fight in Iraq – and in the USA, and wherever they can find a way to make suicide their path to paradise, and all those celestial virgins.

For our beautiful planet Earth, cradle of all our civilizations, this is a terrifying play where Christian fundamentalism, with its obsession with good, evil, and the end-times meets Islamic fundamentalism. They say it’s not a crusade, but the not-so-hidden agenda of White House bosses Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Cheney involves radical reform of the UN, regime change in Iran and Syria, and "containment" of France and Germany. It is paramount, in their eyes, that America should dominate the world, for God, Jesus, and McDonalds. This is The New American Century. See www.newamericancentury.org if you doubt my words.

It is in response to this attempted "coup du monde" that the world peace movement has arisen and found its strength. Now is the time to make our voices and our actions louder, to oppose this war, and all wars, forever. If you are wondering how you can help, see "101 Ways to Stop the War on Iraq", at www.earthfuture.com .

There are now two superpowers – the US, and the peace movement. Now is the time to craft the hopes, the treaties, and the policies that will firmly entrench the United Nations at the heart of a shared, multilateral world. Now is the time to turn our foreign policies and diplomacies to plans for pre-emptive peace, pre-emptive sustainability, pre-emptive love. Not just in Iraq, but in the whole of the Middle East, and wherever there is conflict and ancient hostility.

Out of this grief and awfulness must come true democracy - global democracy. This is our hope, and our firm intention. This is our commitment to the people of Baghdad. This is our word.

Guy Dauncey


ECONEWS

AG00119_.gif (2913 bytes)A monthly newsletter, funded by your donations, that dreams of a Vancouver Island and a world blessed by the harmony of nature, the pleasures of community & the joys of fulfillment.

  Feb Mar Apr
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Print & Post: $810 $947 $900
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Donations: $443 $240 You?
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Balance: $454 -$158 (empty)

Many thanks to Wilf Waddell, Dave Secco, Sharon Hooper, Wally du Temple, Ruth Masters, Eileen Kenwood, Patrick Fawkes, Peter Schofield and the World Federalists, Victoria Branch.

Donations can be sent to EcoNews, 395 Conway Rd, Victoria, BC, V9E 2B9. For a receipt, send stamped addressed envelope.
EcoNews by email: fill out the form at the top of the page!


THE ECO-CORNER
$1/word (non-profits, low-income free)
1" box $40, $2" box $70, flier $180

* Food not Bombs: looking for someone to house a deep-freeze for near downtown. Help? hduinker@uvic.ca

* Can you donate old books and other auctionables for the Oak & Orca School fundraiser May 3rd? 383-6609

* Leadership & Natural Building course, Shawnigan www.cobworks.com

* Room to rent (furnished, unfurn) in a lovely and central "cottage" for the month of May. Share with one other. $350 including utilities. Call 385-1965.

* Wanted: Volunteer accounting, also resources/materials for construction of a cob/strawbale hybrid building. OUR EcoVillage our@pacificcoast.net

* Taxes by financial professional, Roxanne Brydges, CFP, $40 simple return, $50-$75 self-employed or rental. 360-6284 or boxwood@inetex.com

* Harris Green Peace Camp needs storage containers, candles, lanterns, plates, cups, first aid gear, fruit. Marie sleepingbag@telusmail.net 886-4146

* Congratulations to the Victoria Car Share Co-op, six cars, 70 members. Wanna join? Call Suzanne, 721-4452.


Share Organics

More than just an Organic Produce Box
Join us, nurturing local food production
* Supporting local organic farmers
* Farmers in Transition to organics
* Fair Trade Products

www.shareorganics.bc.ca
595-6729


DESPAIR AND HOPE

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fail. Think of it always."

- Mahatma Gandhi


THE VANISHING FOREST

The BC government calls it the "Working Forest" legislation. The Western Canada Wilderness Committee calls it the most anti-environmental legislation ever proposed in BC. Like the Bush administration, the Campbell administration understands its mandate as being to govern "for the corporations, by the corporations". For the election of May 2001, the BC Liberals received hefty donations from logging interests:

$147,550: Independent Contractors and Businesses Ass’n of BC

$105,350: Internat’l Forest Products

$65,150: Timberwest Forest Corp’n

$54,400: Weyerhauser Canada Ltd.

Now it’s payback time - but the prize is astonishing: 45 million hectares of crown land - half of BC’s landmass, an area the size of Sweden. Over all this land, currently owned by the people of BC, the logging and mining industries will have permanent guaranteed access. If the legislation passes, whenever there is a need to create new provincial parks, protect drinking watersheds, endangered species, wildlife and fish habitats, or scenic corridors for tourism, or provide lands for First Nations land settlements, an equivalent area will be taken from existing parks, or financial compensation paid to the corporations. The law puts industrial logging and mining above all other interests, tearing up years of patient land-use partnerships. The legislation does nothing to address the real problems in BC’s vast and incredible forests, which relate to the land-tenure stranglehold of a few corporations, chronic overcutting, the destruction of forest ecosystems, and the lack of value-added industry.

YES, you can do something about this. The government is seeking public comments until April 30th. There’s a Ministry form you can fill in at http://srmwww.gov.bc.ca/rmd/workingforest/comments.htm , and please write to the Premier, Rm 156, Parl Bldg, Victoria V8V 1X4. premier@gov.bc.ca See www.wildernesscommittee.org and www.forestsolutions.ca


RENAISSANCE MEDIA

Feeling stifled by the cotton-wool controlled media coverage of CNN, Global and Fox? Take heart – there are alternatives with a different perspective. The Internet is like the invention of the printing press that created an explosion of freedom in the heart of the medieval church controlled world, when the Catholic Church would rather burn people alive than allow them to translate the Bible into their mother tongues. So celebrate – the Internet offers us a renaissance of progressive values in a corporate controlled world. Go read freely, for yourself!

www.independent.co.uk

www.guardian.co.uk

http://news.bbc.co.uk

www.middleeast.org

www.observer.co.uk

www.haaretzdaily.com

www.zmag.org

www.harpers.org

http://Al-Jazeera.net

www.indymedia.org.il

www.israelshamir.net

www.counterpunch.org

www.prwatch.org/spin

www.truthout.org

www.swissinfo.org

www.nzherald.co.nz

www.cursor.org


A BROAD COALITION

For those who despair that the Liberals will receive a second term in office if the Green Party and the NDP split the vote again at the next provincial election – have hope! A new movement is slowly being birthed. Known as "A Broad Coalition", is gradually weaving together people from both parties to build friendships, establish areas of agreement, and discuss possible strategies for the future, and the May 2005 election. It started with a group of persistent, hopeful, committed women from both parties. It is growing into – well, we don’t know quite what, yet. If you would like to organize a coffee party or a local get-together for Greens, NDPers and others who feel disenchanted with the Liberals, call Susan Clark at 478-6906.


GLORIOUS BC

435 bird species, 105 land mammals, 14 reptiles, 18 amphibians, 50 freshwater fish, 14 anadromous fish, 2,300 vascular plants, 700 mosses, 250 liverworts and hornworts, 1,600 lichens, 10,000 fungi. Many incredible humans, determined to protect them. Much hope. Much concern. Much commitment.


SUSTAINABLE NANAIMO

We are all living unsustainably. In an innocent, childlike manner, we graze on nature, trusting it’ll all work out in the end. And so we go about our business, building our houses, sailing our oceans, filling up our shopping trolleys, tossing away our garbage, enjoying the fresh air. Until it hits us – BDOING! – that in reality, it’s all falling apart. Then suddenly, if our souls are alive, we jump to it, and start searching for ways to change. The Regional District of Nanaimo is putting a cautious toe into the waters of sustainability by setting up a "State of Sustainability Project". There’s a new citizen’s committee which aims to assess progress towards sustainability, make residents more aware, and dream up new ways to improve the region’s sustainability, starting with a list of 30 indicators. They have left out progress on reducing greenhouse gases, reducing toxins, and local farms becoming organic, but let’s hope this was just a forgetful oversight. We wish them well! For information, call 250-390-6510.


EVEN PLASTIC MUST DIE

Poor old plastic. First Ireland puts a 25 cent tax on plastic shopping bags, causing so many people to buy cloth bags that sales plummet by 92% in 6 months. Then Taiwan bans all free distribution of plastic bags and tableware, in an attempt to reduce the use of plastic by 30%. Taiwan’s 23 million people use 20 billion bags a year - that’s 2.5 bags per person, per day. Those that don’t litter the landscape are incinerated, sending fluffy little clouds of carcinogenic dioxins into the air. And now, in a further humiliation, the British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is making plastic bags from tapioca, which will biodegrade in 28 days instead of 100 years (if you don’t stir them into your stew.) It’s enough to make an honest plastic bag weep.


A GENEVA CONVENTION FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?

We have a Geneva Convention that governs the rules of war and the treatment of prisoners, but which says nothing about the way warring armies treat the environment. Depleted uranium, oil-fires, landmines – it’s all in a good day’s fighting. To a space-being from another planet, this would be a sure sign that this is one planet that hasn’t got its act together. Klaus Topfer, head of the UN Environment Program, is saying it’s about time we had an equivalent of the Geneva Convention for the Environment. Environmental security is crucial as we work to build peace, and "using the environment as a weapon must be universally condemned and denounced as an international crime against humankind, against nature." Right on, Klaus. Now how about a convention that declared ALL war an international crime against humankind, and nature? 


THE GARDEN PATH ORGANIC PLANT NURSERY

The Healthiest Plants at Grower Direct Prices

 Open Daily 10 - 5:30pm

April, May & June

395 Conway Road
(off Interurban, 1 block past Camosun College)
(250) 881-1555
www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath


ECOSCHOOL IS FILLING UP

The Oak and Orca Bioregional School is continuing to blossom. The school was started 4 years ago by a group of concerned folks who wanted to see kids educated in a holistic and ecologically mindful manner. They will reach their capacity next fall with 35 families involved. Looking to the future, they hope to help children develop connections to the natural world, and a deep love and respect for the Earth and all its inhabitants. 250-383-6609

Oak and Orca Bioregional School

Developing ecologically responsible citizens through child-directed learning

Join us for our first annual

BIOREGIONAL FAIR

MAY 3rd 12-5pm

2738 Higgins St, Cook & Hillside

383-6609 www.oak-and-orca.ca


GLORIOUS SPRING

White fawn lilies, pink fawn lilies, chocolate lilies, camas. Satin-flowers, coralroot, Easter lilies, Indian plum. Snowberries, licorice ferns, shooting stars, ocean spray. Sky-blue mornings, frog-singing nights. Heaven erupting in every long-awaited breath of spring. At last! At last! The symphony explodes, all nature sings. The Victoria Natural History Society is running several excursions into wildflower wonderland (see Green Diary), and so is CRD Parks – see www.crd.bc.ca/parks/programs


URBAN GARDENS DELIGHT!

Ever wanted to create a sea of happy vegetables amid the concrete of the city, and grow healthy food for local people? Then take heart – Emily McNair, up at UVic’s POLIS Project, has written two magnificent info-packed booklets. The Garden City Handbook tells you how to create and protect community gardens in Victoria, while Seeds of Success shows how it is being done elsewhere, with all the details you’ll need to make a long-term success of it – such as building partnerships with everyone in sight who can tell a carrot from a lettuce. For a copy, call 721-6388; and they’re on-line at www.polisproject.org


Activists - never be sick again. Stay healthy and working for Mother Earth

Health Retreat

with Fasting, Raw Foods, Sunshine and Love

April 21st – 30th (5 day min)

Led by RAY KENT

Master Iridologist

Qualicum Bay Resort, Vanc. Island

$55 per day + Room/camping ($10-50 per day) 50% deposit by April 7th

Susan Holvenstot, 250-334-2375 cvec17@hotmail.com


ACTION OF THE MONTH
HELP THE WOLVES

Nitya Harris writes: The provincial government is proposing a major wolf kill in the Muskwa-Kechika management area in North Eastern BC, so that more ungulates (Rocky Mountain elk, Stone's mountain sheep, woodland cariboo and moose) are available for big-game hunters. This is part of the Muskwa-Kechika wildlife management plan and was obtained by the Vancouver Sun through freedom-of-information legislation. The report does not recommend suspending hunting to rebuild ungulate populations, but plans instead to kill over 200 of the region’s wolves, currently estimated at 850. "This is retrogressive wildlife management," said Paul Paquet, a Saskatchewan-based ecologist and large-carnivore specialist who has studied wolves in BC and North America. The government is looking for public input on the idea.

Action: Please write asap to Hon. Joyce Murray, Minister of Water, Land and Air Prot’n, PO Box 904, Stn Prov Gov, Victoria V8W 9E2. Fax: 250 387-1356 joyce.murray.mla@leg.bc.ca

Send a copy to Pierre Johnstone, Environmental Stewardship Division, 400-10003 110th Ave, Fort St John, BC V1J 6M7. Fax (250) 787-3490

pierre.johnstone@gems1.gov.bc.ca


NOTICE

EcoNews provides this electronic version of the newsletter free of charge even though it costs time and money to produce. Please feel free to repost. You can help by making a donation, whether $5 or $100, to:

EcoNews, 395 Conway Road, Victoria V9E 2B9, Canada. Thanks !

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EcoNews, Guy Dauncey
395 Conway Road, Victoria
V9E 2B9
Tel/Fax (250) 881-1304

Author of "Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change"
(New Society Publishers)
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